Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2017 ODI Series - Combined XI

Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2017 ODI Series – Combined XI

The men in green whitewashed the islanders to register an emphatic 5-0 series win.

Pakistan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

After being badly humiliated in the Test series against Sri Lanka, team Pakistan bounced back in some fine fashion in the ODI series. The men in green whitewashed the islanders to register an emphatic 5-0 series win. Clearly, they had their revenge taken after having lost the Test series earlier – their first Test series defeat in the UAE.

For the numbers, this ODI whitewash turned out to be the second consecutive whitewash for team Sri Lanka. They were recently beaten 5-0 by the Indian team in their own backyard. The problems for Sri Lanka in limited overs cricket seem to have no end. At the same time, the situations for Pakistan cricket in ODI cricket is only seeing an upward curve.

They were a written off chapter in ODIs about a year ago. Now, they are a force to beat with Champions Trophy to their name and this whitewash win over Sri Lanka. Needless to say, this upsurge has been due to the efforts of some veteran heroes and some new faces. Also, for Sri Lanka, the silver lining in the series has been a few individual performances.

Here we pick the combined XI of the 5-match ODI series:

1. Upul Tharanga

Sri Lanka v England
Sri Lanka’s Upul Tharanga / AFP / JON SUPER (Photo credit should read JON SUPER/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka had a forgettable time in the series. However, for the skipper, the series was slightly brighter on the personal note. Upul Tharanga finished as the leading run scorer for his team in the series. He aggregated 199 runs in the series at an average just under fifty.

He remained unbeaten in the second ODI with a brilliant 112 to his name. He followed it up with another fifty in the next ODI too. His form seems to be one of the few positive outcomes for the Sri Lankan side. He could not end the series on a high and had a duck score to his name as well.

2. Imam ul Haq

Imam-ul-Haq of Pakistan
Imam-ul-Haq of Pakistan celebrates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Albeit there were not too many big scores to boast about for Imam ul Haq in the series, he still manages to feature in this list owing to his masterly debut. Imam made his ODI debut in the third ODI of the series. He replaced Ahmed Shehzad in the lineup.

Imam became only the second Pakistani cricketer to score a century on ODI debut. He hit a match winning 100 off 125 balls. His knock was embellished with 5 boundaries and a couple of maximums. He had to justify his selection in the team especially after many questioned it citing his relations with the chief selector. Imam surely managed to silence all the critics.

3. Babar Azam

Babar Azam of Pakistan
Babar Azam of Pakistan leaves the filed after being dismissed. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

There is absolutely no question over Babar Azam’s supremacy when it comes to limited overs cricket in the UAE. He hit tons in the first two matches of the series. With that, he had registered his five consecutive tons at the venue!

He is rightly being seen as the future of the Pakistan cricket. Azam emerged as the leading run getter of the series. He scored 303 runs in the series at an average of 101 and a top score of 103. The 23-year old reinstated his place in the line up after a very quiet and disappointing Test outing.

4. Lahiru Thirimanne

Lahiru Thirimanne
Lahiru Thirimanne (Photo Source: Twitter)

The list clearly does not have a lot of Sri Lankan names. The kind of performance that the visitors put forth has been nothing short of disappointment of the highest order. However, along with skipper Upul Tharanga, another batsman who showed some resilience in the series was Lahiru Thirimanne.

Thirimanne, who was drafted in the side to provide stability to the middle order, played decently in the series. He aggregated 174 runs in five matches at an average of 34.80. He had a top score of 62 in the series.

5. Shoaib Malik

Shoaib Malik
Shoaib Malik of Pakistan bats during the first One Day International match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. (Photo Source: Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Veteran Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik was arguably at his prime best in the first couple of games. Malik was expected to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility heading in to the series. And the veteran campaigner did that with ease.

He hit 161 runs in the series with a best of 81. Malik averaged 80.5 with the bat and that stands as a testimony of his brilliance. He was awarded the Player of the Match in the first ODI for his whirlwind 81 that came off just 61 deliveries.

6. Sarfraz Ahmed

Sarfraz Ahmed
Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed.
(Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images)

While there was virtually nothing to pick from the wicket-keepers of both the countries, Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed manages to make the cut ahead of his Sri Lankan counterpart in the list. Sarfraz did not get a chance to bat in the last three ODIs owing to some serious top order batting by his players.

In the first two games where he batted, he failed to get into double digits. Yet, he finds himself in the list as the skipper for his magnificent work in the field. He was sharp with his changes and backed his bowlers well. Also, his keeping was blemish free.

7. Rumman Raees

Hasan Ali and Rumman Raees
(Photo Source: Facebook)

Left arm pace bowler Rumman Raees has been an impressive bowler for the Pakistan outfit. In the limited opportunities that he has got, he has managed to impress many. The Pakistani bowling was the talk of the town in the series and Raees was no different.

Albeit he does not boast of a big figure in the statistics, Raees bowled quite decently. Raees bagged 4 wickets in the three matches that he played and was lethal with his lines. On a couple of occasions, he bowled some fiery spells.

8. Shadab Khan

Shadab Khan of Pakistan
Shadab Khan of Pakistan celebrates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Young leg spinner Shadab Khan is making giant strides in world cricket. He had yet another impressive outing in this particular series. He managed to finish the bowling charts as the second leading wicket taker in the 5 matches.

Shadab bagged 10 wickets in the 5 games and bowled with a very impressive average of just over 16. He bowled with a strike rate of 23.4 – next to only Hasan Ali’s 18.4. His economy rate of 4.17 was also the second best among all the bowlers in the series.

9. Lahiru Gamage

Lahiru Gamage
Lahiru Gamage of Sri Lanka. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

While there were literally no Sri Lankan bowlers who could trouble the Pakistani batsmen for long, the name of Lahiru Gamage emerged as the best out of the crop. Gamage finished the series as the leading wicket taker for Sri Lanka.

He bagged 7 wickets in the 4 matches that he played in the series. Gamage bowled with a handy average of 24 in the series. His best effort came in the second ODI where he had bagged 4/57 in the match.

10. Hasan Ali

Hasan Ali
Hasan Ali. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Hasan Ali finished the series as the leading wicket taker. He grabbed 14 wickets in the 5 matches that he played. He bowled with an average of 11.28 – the best among all bowlers in the series. Also, he was miserly with his economy rate – as low as 3.67.

En route the five games of the series, Hasan Ali became the number one ranked ODI bowler as well. His best came in the third ODI where he bagged 5/34. He is undoubtedly the biggest asset in Pakistan pace bowling armory at the moment.

11. Usman Khan

Usman Khan Shinwari
Usman Khan Shinwari took 20 balls to pick a fifer. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Young bowler Usman Khan was drafted in the Pakistan lineup after the team had sealed the series with a win in the third ODI. Usman made an impressive debut but ended up taking only a solitary wicket in the match.

However, he bowled well enough to earn himself another game and that turned out to be a dream match for him. He bagged 5/34 as Sri Lanka skittled out for a paltry 103. His spell spoke volumes about pace, aggression, and precision. He certainly looks like a bright prospect for the future.